Dad overdosed on prescription drugs

A FATHER killed himself after falling into depression contributed to by problems with his estranged wife, an inquest heard.

Steven Rodgers was found dead in bed after overdosing on prescription drugs for a heart condition and depression.

The inquest heard how the 44-year-old was going through a divorce after 10 years of marriage, but for the past two years he had endured late night visits and phone calls from his estranged wife.

Mr Rodgers's body was discovered by his new partner Susan Redmayne, who had let herself into his flat in Front Street, East Boldon, on February 3.

She had become concerned for his safety after he failed to turn up to his job as assistant manager at Morrisons in Seaburn and she was unable to contact him.

Miss Redmayne told the inquest at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court: "I went in and saw the dog and two letters.

"I looked on the table and his car keys were still there.

"I began searching for him, and the last place I went into was the bedroom, and that's where I found him.

"I went up to him and touched him, he was stone cold."

Yesterday's inquest heard how a toxicology report showed Mr Rodgers had taken the betablocker propanol and anti-depressant mirtazapine at levels where either was "sufficient enough to cause sudden death".

Coroner Terence Carney was told by Mr Rodgers's sister Kathleen how the former Sunderland man was diagnosed with angina and had felt more tired but had carried on working.

He was also going through a divorce after 10 years of marriage.

The separation had been acrimonious, but for the past two years the inquest heard he had been getting late-night visits and phonecalls from his estranged wife Pauline.

He was also worried about his finances after falling behind with debt payments.

Miss Rodgers told the inquest: "He would stay in a lot as he was frightened Pauline would cause trouble.

"She had been down to his work recently, he used to laugh it off as he didn't want us to worry.

"He wouldn't go into details but he always said she was hanging around and knocking on his door, sometimes at 4am."

Miss Redmayne told the coroner how police and bomb squad were called out on two occasions after he found mobile phones taped underneath his vehicle.

However, a police officer told the inquest she had no knowledge of these calls.

Miss Redmayne added: "I just felt he couldn't take anymore. He had just hit rock bottom."

Mr Carney said: "There is no doubt in my mind this was a man, who for some considerable time and more recently, has been suffering acute depression.

"It appears his domestic situation was the factor of much of that depression, and I agree with the evidence I have heard from family that for some considerable time he was suffering ongoing anxiety and pressure of an unresolved domestic situation.

"Clearly the effects in my view of that ongoing stress have impacted greatly on this man's decision to ultimately kill himself."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Rodgers's estranged wife, Pauline, of Herrington, said she was too distraught to attend yesterday's inquest and didn't want to upset the rest of her ex's family.

She added: "I was upset when I found out he had a heart attack, I was past myself.

"To find out he had really acute heart problems was upsetting. You can't be with someone all those years and not feel anything and I do."

Mr Carney gave a narrative verdict and recorded his death was as a result of propanol and mirtazapine.

He also recorded that he self-administrated these matters consequently killing himself and that at the time he was suffering acute depression.

Speaking after the inquest Mr Rodgers's family said he was "one in a million".